Smooth Driver from the Top Down | 2013 Volvo C70

October 2012 View more

NMAG1012_ForTheRoad_1October is one of those months when nature plays tricks. One moment the sun is shining and you are remembering the summer fun that just slipped by. The next moment, the air turns crisp and—as you pull on a sweater—you start imagining the ski trips and shoveling that await you in just a few short weeks.

Volvo’s product planners might have had October in mind when they first hatched their plan for the C70 hard-top convertible. Top up, it is as tight and snug as any other luxury coupe. With its heated leather seats cranked on high, even the coldest fall day cannot intrude on the cabin’s calm comfort. But should the bright sun portend temperatures that invite shirtsleeves, the top stows itself in about 30 seconds, and you might as well be heading to the beach with the wind in your hair.

NMAG1012_ForTheRoad_3The hard-top convertible—not to mention the intricate interplay of pieces required for that metal shell to origami itself into the trunk—was a rarity when the original version of this C70 model rolled out a half dozen years ago. Now buyers can find retractable hard tops on convertibles as small and inexpensive as the sprightly Mazda CX-5.

That increase in selection should not lessen demand for the C70 because it stakes a singular position: the not-too-flashy, not-too-sporty, but still delightfully luxurious, comfortable, and spacious four-seat convertible. The Infiniti G37 convertible also seats four, but it is arguably more on the flashy and sporty side.

This year’s C70 benefits from a re-freshening, which follows on a thorough re-do for 2011. But it retains the basic characteristics that made version 1.0 such a pleasure back in 2006. For starters, the cabin is a minimalist sanctuary. At a time when luxury automakers seem to be in a race to endow their dashboards with the biggest screens and the most buttons, the C70 retains its signature waterfall center console endowed with easy-to-reach dials that control the four most common adjustments: radio volume and tuning, and the climate control’s temperature and fan speed.

In fact, if you know where you are going, there is actually no need to worry about finding a button or looking at a screen. The small display for the optional navigation system emerges from the top of the console when beckoned, but otherwise remains stowed. Given how cumbersome it is to use, relative to many other automakers’ offerings, you might be better off using the navigation on your smartphone.

NMAG1012_ForTheRoad_2This new C70 also delivers the same smooth and solid road manners that have attracted modern Volvo buyers since at least the mid-1990s. The steering and acceleration are fluid, the brakes are strong but not abrupt, the suspension is pliant but not floaty.

For 2013, all C70 models are powered by the same turbocharged five-cylinder engine, mated to the same five-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy, with premium fuel recommended, is pegged at 18 miles per gallon on your city commute and 28 miles per gallon when you indulge your wanderlust on the highway.

The 2013 Volvo C70 is available in three levels: The basic C70 T5 starts at $40,990, the Premier Plus bumps the price to $42,190, and the Platinum edition hits $44,790. Add the Inscription package and your price escalates by $3,900, but if you pay the premium price point, your C70 will roll off the dealer’s lot with a bit more horsepower than the standard edition, along with sharp high-gloss, black-finish wheels, and a whole list of add-ons and upgrades.